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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV) Today at International Lutheran Church we read about God’s mission and how His act to redeem the world involves the people whom He has redeemed. Paul’s words to the church in Corinth are completely amazing – really unbelievable – Jesus, whom the Father sent, chooses frail human beings to spread His message on His behalf.

Yet, this truth is in fact nothing new. In the Old Testament lesson from Ezekiel 2:1-5, we read about how Ezekiel is sent to a stubborn and rebellious house. The Spirit of God has to literally pick him from the ground like a limp and deflated balloon. He is filled with the LORD’s words and then sent to do an impossible job of speaking to an impudent and stubborn people – his own people. God does not approach the whole of His people with the same glory of whirling wheels that left Ezekiel speechless and dumbfounded for seven days. No, the LORD sends Ezekiel to make His glory known to His people.

Similarly, the gospel lesson for today from Mark 6:1-13 furthers this inescapable reality of how God confronts our rebellion and unwillingness to listen to His message. Jesus comes to His hometown not in glory but in weakness. He is looked on as a “carpenter’s son,” whose brothers and sisters are known elements. Even Jesus is amazed at the lack of faith in His own hometown.

Why Mark shares this and Jesus’ own amazement is a testimony of God’s eternal patience and grace. Like Ezekiel, Jesus was sent to those who would reject Him and misunderstand Him. Yet God sent Him home, to the lost sheep of Israel, and ultimately to the cross for you and me. The proverbial truth that “going home” is never easy for the prophet or preacher is, in fact, a picture of God’s mercy as He still comes to us today in His Word.

When we speak of God’s glory, we might be misunderstood as elevating the Christian faith to some kind of unworldly experience. Some easily think it is about some kind of out of body, unrelatable experience. Yet the truth is our Christian faith is as common as ordinary, everyday water that we use to quench our thirst and do our laundry. The common daily staple of bread and wine are the very vessels that God uses to come to us, to call us, and fill us with His Spirit. Through the Word of God, water, bread, and wine are transformed to be the very instruments of power to destroy the grip of Satan on our lives and raise us from doubt and shame to a life lived in Him.

As God comes to us in Jesus, He also sends us all to play an integral part of His work in the world today. We are not perfect. People who know you and me can easily point that out, and yet this is His grace and mercy to redeem and save all people. We are not put on the bench to watch the game or caught up to heaven to stare endlessly at its beauty, but we are put into our vocations and sent to work. We are filled with His Spirit, forgiven of our sins, freed from our demons and unclean spirits to share with others just like us how good the Lord is and how His grace is sufficient for all.

Through the weakness of the cross and the death of Jesus, we were perfected in weakness. In Baptism into His death, Jesus added you and me into His mission. At His Table, we proclaim His death and we are again made perfect, forgiven of our sins. In and through our weaknesses, He displays His goodness for all. Jesus did not come to go it alone but rather sent others in His name and power who would speak and teach just what He had done for them. Broken, sinful, and weak though we are, God sends us to proclaim the forgiveness of sins and life to all in Jesus.

Pastor Carl